Social prescribing has been set up in Waltham Forest to help our residents become healthier, happier and connected to local activities and organisations.
Our social prescribing service helps residents in Waltham Forest to:
- get advice about entitlement to benefits or what to do about debt
- become more active or increase healthy eating
- join in with local groups like art classes or gardening groups
- connect to local befriending or volunteering schemes
- gain training to help build confidence or move into work
- receive assistance with a cold home or other housing issues
There are many other benefits too. This service also provides a link between residents and further support in order to improve their health and prevent the deterioration of illness.
Health or social care professionals can suggest to residents that they may benefit from social prescribing. If residents agree to be referred to the service, they will receive a phone call from a ‘social prescriber’, who will discuss with them what their needs and experiences are and what they would like to access. The social prescriber will then help the resident to access a range of support, advice and information provided by local organisations.
The service, which will run as a pilot for 18 months initially, is a joint initiative funded by Waltham Forest Council public health team and Waltham Forest Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) – and is part of the Waltham Forest Better Care Together Programme.
Cllr Ahsan Khan, the Council’s Cabinet Member for Health and Wellbeing, said: “Waltham Forest’s new social prescribing service is a really innovative and exciting new approach to helping meet residents’ needs. By working in partnership across the Council, with NHS Waltham Forest CCG, other local health professionals, and with our local voluntary and community organisations, we believe this service will help ensure more residents get access to the kind of support services they need to be able to enjoy a good quality life.”
Dr Anwar Khan, Chair of NHS Waltham Forest CCG, welcomed the new service on behalf of GPs in Waltham Forest and said: “This gives GPs one referral point, where a resident can get help with non-medical issues and get the support that they need.”
Cllr Angie Bean, Cabinet Member for Adult Services, said: “Our social prescribing service promises to play a really important role in helping the Council and its healthcare partners reach more vulnerable, older people in need of support.”
We have tried to make our service as broad as possible by taking referrals not only from GPs, but from any health or social care professional in the borough. Also, from September 2016, the local Citizen’s Advice service will place a welfare advisor for one day per week in the three GP hubs across the borough. The social prescriber will be able to make direct appointments for patients needing welfare advice at one of these GP surgeries.